Q&A: How can I be “IV certified”?

Q: How can I be IV certified? If I attend an IV program, will I be IV certified?

A: If I get a dollar every time I get asked this question, I would be a very rich infusion nurse!!  But seriously, the confusion about IV certification have been in existence for as long as I have been an infusion nurse (which believe me, is a long time!) Many programs or education offerings both from professional nursing organizations and education companies use the words certification and certificate interchangeably, causing confusion about what a program confers. So what is the difference?

Certificate: A certificate program is an education program that awards a certificate  after completing the program. These programs provide a “certificate” of attendance or participation but not award a credential. Certificate programs are geared towards obtaining skills or knowledge. Many of the certificate programs are open to anyone who registers. Some healthcare organizations offer internal “certification” which are designed to meet their own internal criteria and recognized only within the organization.

Certification: Refers to an earned credential that demonstrates the person’s specialized knowledge, skills, and experience. Certification is awarded by a third-party, nongovernmental entity such a separate entity of a national nursing organization that promotes public protection. Certification candidates receive their credential only after meeting strict eligibility criteria and successfully completing a standardized exam. Credentials are nationally recognized and portable, meaning your credentials will follow you if you move from one organization to another. And unlike certificate programs, professional certification programs include ongoing requirements that must be met to keep the certification current. The recertification process ensures that credential holders have maintained a level of expertise in their specialty and that they participate in activities that support competency in their specialty.

An RN who has certification in infusion nursing is recognized by the credential  CRNI – Certified Registered Nurse Infusion. This certification is awarded by the Infusion Nurses Certification Corporation (INCC). An individual  who has certification in vascular access is recognized by the credential  VA-BC – Vascular Access Board Certified.  The certification is through Vascular Access Certification Corporation (VACC)  and is multidisciplinary in scope and includes the broad range of health care professionals and clinicians actively engaged in the practice of vascular access.


So how can you be IV certified? Look above under certification if you are looking to obtain a credential. If you attend an IV program, will you be IV certified? Look above under certificate if you are looking to obtain training in particular IV skill and get a certificate of completion, not a credential.


1. Infusion Nurses Certification Corporation – www.incc.org

2. Vascular Access Certification Corporation – www.vacert.org